Friday, November 28, 2008

Troops move into Kilinochchi

Infantry formations of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA)’s 57 and 58 divisions have entered Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)’s celebrated political capital; Kilinochchi. As we reported earlier, pitched battles have been raging across the town’s western, southern and south western borders since the 23rd this month. By the 27th, troops had made inroads into the town by breaching the earth bund spreading from western to the southern borders of Kilinochchi, despite heavy LTTE resistance and bad weather conditions. Since then small groups of SLA commandos and intelligence units have been operating inside Kilinochchi town.

LTTE did attempt to prevent SLA from entering the town and also to regain lost areas several times. However, infantry units of the 57 and 58 divisions with the support of Commandos have been able to hold them off in almost all their attempts so far. Obviously, there have been casualties for both parties but we do not have the exact casualty figures with us right now.

The army has not officially declared the capture of Kilinochchi yet. Perhaps they are waiting till every last inch of the town is searched and declared safe and any LTTE resistance lingering in the area is hunted down. They may even be considering the possibility of an LTTE counterattack from the direction of Iranamadu jungles. Currently, search and defensive ops are continuing.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Kilinochchi under siege

Two of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA)’s offensive formations (57 division and 58 division) are now moving towards Kilinochchi in three directions. Heavy fighting has been raging across the southern and western borders of the town since Sunday (23rd). Both parties have suffered heavy casualties with around 50 SLA soldiers being killed and 120 more being injured. 10 other SLA personnel have gone missing in action (MIA). Exact LTTE casualties are not available as of this moment but intelligence units believe them to be over 50 KIA and 100+ WIA. Casualty figures are likely to rise as operations progress.

Bulk of the SLA casualties were caused by heavy weapons fire, mines and IEDs. In addition, advancing forces had to withstand several large scale counterattacks launched by the LTTE. Earlier, LTTE had deployed a significant number of experienced cadres to this area in a bid to prevent the fall of their de facto capital. Even amidst heavy resistance, forces have reached the newly constructed earth bund around most part of Kilinochchi. This is being attacked from the direction; Pudumurippukulam south, Akkarayakkulam north and Murukandi.  

Saturday, November 22, 2008

15km of Pooneryn-Paranthan road (B-69) captured

After their recent capture of major LTTE stronghold of Pooneryn, Task Force 1 (TF1) units are now moving towards their next objective; the Paranthan junction. So far, they have managed to capture around 15km along the Pooneryn – Paranthan road (B-69).

Meanwhile several media (including pro LTTE web sites) have reported that SLA suffered high casualties in the capture of Pooneryn town. This is not true. In the actual operation that lead to the capture of Pooneryn town center, 4 SLA soldiers were killed and 29 were injured. 12 of the injured were SLA’s elite Special Forces units. At the time this operation was launched there were around 150 tigers still trapped in Pooneryn. Some were killed and some managed to escape via sea route. A large haul of weapons and ammunition was captured from the tigers. Images of the captured weapons will soon be released to the public.

On the other hand, SLA casualties were comparatively high during the recent SLA advance on LTTE’s Muhamalai FDL. This was expected. The thin stretch of open terrain at Muhamalai always gives the defender an added advantage. Nevertheless, LTTE had to fall back when SLA units from the 55 and 53 divisions stormed their FDL amidst a rain of bullets and heavy weapons fire. It was here the tigers felt the loss of Pooneryn for the first time – usual artillery barrage from LTTE’s 130mm howitzers stationed in Pooneryn was not available. However the tigers still managed to inflict heavy casualties on SLA units mainly through the hundreds of mines and booby traps laid practically everywhere ahead of LTTE FDL. They also used gas attacks on advancing forces. Amidst this fierce resistance, SLA have so far captured an area of 9-10 square kilometers including the first defence line of the tigers in Muahmalai/Kilali. In addition to the usual three defence lines, MI has received information that the tigers have built a fourth line further south. SLA operations are still continuing in this area.

Meanwhile 3 soldiers were killed and 13 more were injured in an incident during a training exercise near Nochchiyagama SLA training base. Around 300 soldiers from the 10th Sri Lanka National Guard (10 SLNG) were being trained on searching civilians when gunshots were fired from behind a nearby house. It is still not confirmed if this was sabotage or was an unfortunate accident.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tiger airstrip captured as Troops overrun Muhamalai FDL

Troops of Task Force 1 (TF1) advancing towards Paranthan have captured a smaller airstrip used by the LTTE. The airstrip was around 10m wide and 200m long. As of today, TF1 units are currently around 8km away from the LTTE held town of Paranthan. Another small airstrip located south of Mankulam was captured by the 57 division back in early October.

Meanwhile troops of the 53 and 55 division broke through LTTE defences and overran their first defence line in national front. With this move the army have now advanced roughly 1KM into previously LTTE held territory. Whether the offensives will immediately continue further south or whether the troops will remain in their current positions is still unknown. These gains however did not come without casualties. Nearly 50 soldiers have been killed and around 275 have been injured during fighting in national front (Muhamalai, Nagarkovil and Kilali axis) in the past few days alone. The army had previously attempted no less than 4 times to overrun this bunker line, until they finally succeeded today. Exact LTTE casualty details are not available as of this moment.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sea tigers suffer setback in Nayaru

Sea tigers, the sea going arm of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) suffered a setback yesterday (19th) morning when naval commando units of the SLN engaged a flotilla of sea tiger boats near the seas off Nayaru. A total of 7 LTTE craft were observed by units of the Special Boat Squadron (SBS) who engaged them. The sea battle which started at around 6AM lasted for nearly 1.30 hours. At around 7.15AM SBS units observed two LTTE boats going up in flames. Another sea tiger craft was damaged and this is when the tigers decided to flee. Two Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) MI-24 gunships were deployed to pursue and attack the fleeing LTTE craft. No exact LTTE casualty details are available. Naval units did not suffer any casualties.

Meanwhile at around 9AM yesterday (18th), a group of LTTE cadres towing two large sized sea tiger craft towards the coast were again attacked by the SLAF. Although no exact LTTE casualty details are reported, pilots confirmed accurate hits on the target.

In other news both parties have suffered heavy casualties in battles that raged during the past week. Nearly 30 SLA soldiers have been killed and around 100 more have been wounded in fighting in National front (Muhamalai/Kilali) and Mankulam in the last 4 days alone. The tigers too have lost a number of their experienced fighters however exact LTTE casualty figures are not available as of now.

Video : Api Wenuwen Api Song

Click here to view the video. Full credit to original uploader.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Kumunamalai falls to the army, troops advance towards Mankulam

Troops from the army’s 59 division today captured the formerly LTTE held fishing village of Kumunamalai. Small attack teams of the army have been operating in this area for about 4 days but it was only today the army moved in to take complete control of the village. The tigers resisted the army advance for 7-8 hours before they retreated further north into LTTE held territory. 3 LTTE bodies were recovered while a vehicle belonged to the tigers was destroyed in an ambush.

Meanwhile Task Force 3 have made significant gains in the Mankulam region. TF3 units have been advancing towards Mankulam since yesterday dawn and by 17th (today) noon have advanced up to the Mankulam junction which connects A9 and A34 roads.

Map picture

Meanwhile it seems that the recent fall of Pooneryn has severely affected the morale of LTTE fighters. SLA units intercepting radio transmissions could hear groups of LTTE cadres blaming each other for not being able to save their former stronghold from the advancing army. SLA advance on the town was so swift that several groups of LTTE fighters deserted their ranks as Pooneryn fell. SLA’s morale on the other hand now seem to be at an all time high. Over 2500 army deserters have rejoined the ranks in the two days since the fall of Pooneryn. 

The LTTE however had previously moved their heavy guns towards Kilinochchi and Elephant pass before the army reached Pooneryn. Army’s 53 and 55 divisions have started limited operations on LTTE’s frontlines at Muhamalai to advanced further south to choke the tigers even more. 58 division on the other hand is now in complete control of Pooneryn, Nallur and are poised to advance towards Paranthan. And 11kms south east of their current position lies Kilinochchi, another major stronghold of the tigers which is already being besieged by the 57 division. It must be said that recent military gains did not come easy. There have been casualties for the army in both Muhamalai and Pooneryn. Casualty evacuation is not easy and most of the time injured soldiers need to be transported by tractors before they are airlifted.

Meanwhile the Air Force has been playing an active role in the army offensives in the past week. Their bombers and MI-24 gunships have been frequently raiding LTTE armories, gathering points and military bases in Muhamalai, Pallai, Pooneryn and Paranthan.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Troops move into Pooneryn

Sri Lanka Army (SLA)’s 58 division, spearheaded by commando units, have moved into the LTTE stronghold of Pooneryn. SLA units have now entered the Pooneryn town area and several groups of LTTE cadres have fallen back further north towards Kalmunai Point (K-Point). Fighting is still going on.

Map picture


Meanwhile the 57 division operating south of Kilinochchi have reached the town’s outer borders. On another front, Task Force 3 have made advances into Kokavil area.  More updates as we get them.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Palavi falls to Task Force 1

Soldiers of Task Force 1 (TF1) spearheaded by commando units today captured Palavi area. Palavi is located several kilometers west of A32 highway and south west of LTTE stronghold of Pooneryn. Troops entered Palavi at around 11am in the morning and are currently engaged in clearing operations in the area. Kiranchi, another LTTE held village south of Palavi, was captured by TF1 yesterday (10th). Fall of LTTE strongholds west of A32 now puts even more pressure on LTTE cadres stationed in Pooneryn, as their supply lines are being cut off by advancing troops.


Meanwhile Task Force 3 kicked off their operations in Wanni battlefront by annihilating a group of Charles Anthony cadres south of Kokavil last Friday. Although exact casualty details caused to the LTTE are not available as of this moment, TF3 units were able to recover 7 bodies of Charles Anthony cadres scatted in the area after the firefight.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Fighting in Akkarayankulam, Nagarkovil

Sri Lanka Army (SLA)’s 57 division advanced further into Akkarayankulam area today in a multi pronged assault on LTTE positions. The captured region is located some 9kms south of Kilinochchi and housed many defensive structures constructed by the LTTE. This area was attacked by western, southern and eastern flanks by 57 division units as LTTE resistance retreated further north towards Kilinochchi. 58 division units operating Kovikaduvittal were also locked in firefights with the LTTE today, and have captured an armor plated tractor used by the tigers. Meanwhile soldiers from the 53 and 55 divisions deployed in the national front broke through LTTE defences yesterday (5th) and overran 8 bunkers located on their Nagarkovil front line. Confirming our previous report, two brigades of the Task Force 3 (soon to be officially raised as 63 division) have now been deployed to Wanni theater of battle supporting 53, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 61 and 62 divisions already deployed there.

Meanwhile a rather extraordinary incident happened last week when SLA casualties were being airlifted from Wanni front line. Several soldiers were injured when the SLA made a push into LTTE held territory in Wanni and they were airlifted to Anuradhapura hospital for further treatment. To the surprise of many at the hospital, one of the transported casualties turned out to be a female tiger who had been left behind when the LTTE fled the SLA attack. Apparently she had been mistaken for an SLA casualty and was airlifted along with other SLA soldiers. However it proved to be a lucky mistake on the tiger’s part; her condition was serious and she was later transferred to Colombo National hospital for further treatment.

Meanwhile the SLAF radar in Vavuniya AFB detected at least one unidentified aircraft flying towards government controlled territory early morning today (6th). The aircraft was first located over Iranamadu area and had proceeded some 2km into government held territory when it disappeared from the radar.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Sea clash off the coast of Nagarkovil

A major clash erupted between the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) and Sea Tigers off Nagarkovil coastline early morning today. A large number of sea tiger boats including suicide craft were detected moving north in the seas east of Vadamarachchi by SLN Attack Craft at around 5.20AM today (1st). A firefight erupted between naval craft and LTTE boats and soon several Arrow gunboats from the Rapid Action Boat Squadron (RABS) joined in. 4 suicide boats were destroyed and the LTTE has officially admitted the loss of 7 black tigers. SLA believes at least 10 more regular sea tigers were killed in the confrontation but this has not been confirmed yet. 5 sailors of the SLN were injured and a naval craft was slightly damaged in the incident. Additionally, the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) conducted a bombing raid on a sea tiger launch pad in Championpaththu at around 8.30AM today. Pilots have confirmed the destruction of two LTTE craft and LTTE casualty details (if any) in the aerial attack is not known yet.

Meanwhile two friendly countries have offered their support to Sri Lanka to provide solutions for the threat from Air Tigers. This move comes after the tigers managed to bomb Colombo and fly back to Wanni while ground based air defences failed yet again to shoot them down. One of the countries that extended support for Sri Lanka is home to the company that makes Z-143 aircraft which the tigers have modified with locally built bomb racks.